With an intend to show displeasure over the ban of all ayurvedic products in the European Union through the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD), the International Ayurveda Foundation (IAF) will soon initiate legal proceedings under Article 234 EC in the Courts of the United Kingdom challenging the legality of the THMPD.
The IAF has prepared a 200 pages lengthy report based on three arguments. The first argument will be challenging the legality of how does the directive become a law since it is in contravention with lots of existing laws in EU. The second will be focusing on how EU is violating the European human rights legislation, and the third argument will be focused on how EU is violating the existing protocol of WTO treaty through this directive.
According to Praful Patel, general secretary, IAF they will be fighting either both of the first three suites together or one by one separately. However, he informed that only the Indian government is legally authorised to challenge in the third case since its a WTO matter. As of now the IAF is in talks with the barristers from the EU on these matter so that they can take this issue ahead, whereas, they are subsequently planning to have meeting with its advisors on Ayurveda soon.
Patel informs, “It is necessary to challenge the EU directive because if it remains unchallenged there is a good chance that even other countries like US, Australia, Canada may follow suit and ban the traditional medicines in their respective countries as well. If this happens, it will be a disaster for the five billion worth Indian ayurvedic industry.”
He said that it is a shame that the Indian government did not take any steps in this matter till now and that it does not have the political will to highlight the Indian issue at an international level. IAF has been advocating this issue from last seven years and got a lukewarm response from every sector. However, Patel is hopeful that things will change fast and the industry will rope in their support by providing financial help as well.
He pointed out that there is only one permanent solution to this critical issue and that is to suspend the directive with immediate effect and have a separate directive or law that would recognise the traditional systems of medicines like Ayurveda as a separate entity. “Most importantly, we want the EU to take suggestions from the Indian government, IAF, etc while framing the law. It is important that individual systems should have recognised statutes since over 25 millions of people in Europe use traditional medicines,” added Patel.
Criticising the EU directive he said that the move to ban traditional medicines is an outcome of powerful European herbal lobby and will only lead to illegal use of medicines.